How to Defend Yourself during a Home Invasion
Alarming Facts You Need to Know:
How to defend yourself during a home invasion will largely depend on how well you have pre-planned.
When you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night to an intruder in your home, you will immediately feel sheer stress and panic. If you have not given this topic any previous thought, you really ought to read my previous article: Step 1. A Family Emergency Plan.
As with most things in life, if you have not planned or thought about this unexpected type of event, you are placing your family at a dangerous disadvantage–when the unexpected occurs.
On average, homes in the United States are broken in to every 23 seconds. According to 2017 crime statistics from the FBI, 3.7 million homes are broken into each year. That’s 7 homes every minute. Most burglaries occur between 10 AM and 3 PM as many homes are empty during this time frame while people are at work. Burglars know this and use it to their advantage.
Statistics further inform us that 1.03 million home invasions occur each year and can occur any time of day or night. A bit of a contrast to typical burglary times with the major difference being that you are home.
Waking up to an Intruder In the Still of the Night
Waking up in the dead of night only to realize that a stranger has broken into your home is a nightmare that no one wants to experience.
Unfortunately, this is more common than you think. It’s a dangerous situation to be in and can escalate to dangerous heights suddenly. It’s important to know what to do in the event that you find yourself face to face with an intruder.
In this moment, your whole world is suddenly and immediately disrupted – panic strikes. Remember, you may have loved ones in the house sleeping peacefully.
Confronted with Panic and Heart Wrenching Chaos – Now it’s Happening to You.
From my own personal experiences in law enforcement: responding to, interviewing and investigating hundreds of victims, burglaries and home invasions, you do not want to initiate a confrontation with the intruder.
In this moment, you have no idea what the intruder(s) intentions or state of mind is. As an innocent victim, your top priority is not to fight or apprehend the intruder. You need to remain focused on the goal – the safety of yourself and loved ones.
In most cases, the intruder did not break in to your home with the intention of assaulting or otherwise hurting the people inside. Their objective was to was to steal your property and make a clean get away.
But again, you can’t know this at that point. Your thoughts may be that the intruder is bold enough to break in while you and your family are home–what else are they capable of doing?
Your family’s safety is the most important focus at this point. The run-of-the-mill burglar is equally surprised to see you as you are to see them. Most burglars think the home is unoccupied.
If this is the case, they will generally run away upon finding someone at home. Should they run away, let them be on their way. Don’t chase the intruder – the best witness is a live witness.
Your job, at this point, is to be the best witness possible noticing physical features, clothing and anything you may have noticed that can contribute to the subsequent apprehension of the intruder. Next, or at the same time, call the police and give them the information to catch the intruder.
Make sure not to touch anything as the police may need to process your residence – the crime scene for evidence.
The Confrontation – Fight or Flight
When it does escalate and a confrontation is unavoidable, your preplanning will take over.
In this case you must put as much distance between yourself and the aggressor quick, fast and in immediately. With cell phone in hand, call 911. Then, at the speed of light, the confrontation unfolds. Now you must defend yourself, using anything and everything as a weapon to protect yourself and family – Stay alive. I have listed a few things to do immediately:
- Distance Yourself
- Call 911
- Defend Yourself
- Use Pepper Spray
- A baseball bat
- A Firearm if necessary
- Anything that can be used as a defense weapon
Get Away from the Aggressor
Always be thinking of the best way to “get away” from the intruder. You don’t know if they may have a weapon or be a skilled fighter – do not jeopardize your safety.
It may be a common instinct to investigate a mysterious noise the middle of the night in your home. But if an intruder has already gotten into your house, your priority should be getting as far away from them as possible while calling the police.
Law Enforcement is far more equipped and trained to handle these types of dangerous situations. 911 will keep you on the phone while dispatching the police to help you to get up to the second information from you.
Now your job is be a great observer. It will be your observations and description of the intruder that will help the arriving police catch them. Many suspects are apprehended because of good descriptions while on the way to your home. Stay observant.
Yes, you have a big task and responsibility to do many things at the same time. It’s not fair but it is REALITY.
Add these Life Saving Tips to your Prevention List:
1.Prevention is your first and highest priority. Install a security system and a video doorbell, make sure your home and surroundings are well lit, use security signage.
If don’t don’t have a dog put “Beware of Dog” signs up on the fence, reinforce your doors and windows.
Make sure the home looks occupied–plug in programmed lighting, don’t let strangers into your home under any circumstances, and never leave a spare key anywhere around the outside of your home.
2. Set up a designated safe room and reinforce the door with heavy-duty locks and surroundings. Have heavy furniture in the room that you can use to barricade the door. Use a “code word” or phrase that signals danger to your family so they can take action immediately. Make sure your kids know your home address so they can communicate with 911, if needed. Don’t make it fancy, just a simple word.
3. Have firearms (if trained properly) or defensive weapons in the safe room, locked in a gun safe or lock box with a combination lock, and share the code for the lock with other adults in your family.
Have an emergency cell phone that’s charged and ready for use. Barricade yourself in the safe room until help arrives or the criminals have clearly departed.
4. Have a bull-horn or Air Horn: loud noises like sirens, audible security alarms, bull horns and air horns attract attention from neighbors and passerby’s who maybe able to help or become a witness.
And finally, make an escape if you have the opportunity.
If you Own a Gun – Know how to use it
If you own a gun, you have it for a reason. All too many victims are shot, badly maimed or killed with their own guns. This is mainly due to inadequate training, practice and proficiency with their own gun.
The flip side of being killed with your own gun is waking up in the middle of the night thinking there’s an Intruder and shooting your spouse or child unknowingly. It is more common than you think.
Owning and using a gun as a weapon is a huge responsibility. So please have adequate training and use good judgment if you are going to own a gun.
As a well-trained gun owner you will include it in your home defense plan. Here’s how it works:
Develop a plan, fatal funnel. If you are using a gun for home defense, position yourself in a corner of the safe room that is on the opposite side of the door. This will give you the maximum amount of time decide if you’re going to shoot because you’ll be the last thing the intruders see when they burst through the door.
In this instance, you have the advantage because they will have to make an assessment of the room before they make a move. You only have to decide if you’re going to shoot or not. You will know that its either the police coming to your rescue or the bad guys coming to harm you. Just make sure you don’t shoot the police.
Being involved in any kind of home invasion invokes extreme and intensified emotions and stress. It forces you into a reactive state of mind that only those who have given these scenarios some in depth thought and practice will succeed.
The place to plan and practice is in the prevention phase. Before anything bad happens. That way, by the time you are forced to react you will be better prepared to make the right decisions.
Immediate Action is Required in the following 3 Areas:
1. An Awareness: statistics show that it is not a matter of “if” it will happen but a matter of “When.” You have to admit and come to grips with the fact that criminals have gotten more bold and smarter, and they are spreading to your neighborhood. It can and will happen to you.
2. Prevention and an Emergency Plan of Action: If the criminal is relying on the element of surprise, why not be prepared for it. Knowing what to do, having escape routes planned and practiced assures you that everyone in the home knows what to do and where to meet up.
Why take the chance of losing lives or suffering the effects of grave injury if you can avoid it.
3. Home security system: Security systems have advanced technology, are much more affordable and make noises when someone comes and goes.
You’ll know when doors and windows are opened or closed. Motion detectors alert you to what’s going on, and video doorbells video doorbells show live streams of what’s happening on the other side of your front door.
The average loss of property in a 8-13 minute time frame from a burglary is $2,500 worth of your property. A security system is less than $500 and you get discounts on your home-owners or renters insurance + it will save your life.
The spread of home invasions, burglaries and violent crimes continue to grow in to the suburbs and rural areas at astounding rates. You just can’t go wrong with the added protection of a home security system. Coupled with prevention methods and a little practice, that is a recipe for “Peace of Mind.” Now you know how to defend yourself during a home invasion please make sure your plan is a good one.
Thanks for reading. I hope this article has helped to better prepare you in some way. Please leave your comments or questions below. I will be sure to answer. Until next time – be safe!